Kickoff For March 23, 2020

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I’ve found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

Instead of me trying (and failing) to come up with something witty, wise or inspiring, let’s get this Monday started with these links:


What You Didn’t Know About the Apollo 11 Mission, wherein we discover more than a few facts about the first moon landing, including its (lack of) popularity among citizens and politicians, and about some of the motivations for America’s moonshots.

Here Is the Soviet Union’s Secret Space Cannon, wherein we get a peek at the repurposed weapon that was added to one of the USSR’s Almaz military orbiting stations in the 1970s for protection (and maybe other purposes, too).

Humans will ruin outer space just like they’ve ruined everything else, wherein Monica Vidaurri argues that as human activity in space increases, that activity will mirror previous eras of expansion, colonization, exploitation, and imperialism.

The Dark Side of Technology

How ‘dark patterns’ influence travel bookings, wherein we learn how ecommerce websites use verbal and visual nudges to try to influence who, what, and when we buy something, and why those nudges are misleading.

The Fantasy of Opting Out, wherein we learn that it’s almost impossible not to be under watch by powers greater than ourselves, and that obfuscation might be a better strategy than trying (unsuccessfully) to completely opt out.

The Hacker Who Took Down a Country, wherein we learn about Daniel Kaye, who created a massive botnet that took down Liberia’s telecommunications infrastructure, a botnet which then got out of control.

Odds and Ends

Prescription for Journalists: Less Time Studying Twitter, More Time Studying Math, wherein John P. Wihbey argues that journalists need to shift their focus from the superficial and what’s easy to digest, and focus on being able to interpret and communicate data.

The Secret to Shopping in Used Bookstores, wherein we learn that a visit to a used bookstore can be more than a chance to score a cheap read; it’s an opportunity to expand our reading horizons.

Where Am I?, wherein Heather Sellers tells us how she learned her inability to orient and locate herself wasn’t something unique, and how she developed strategies to deal with it.

And that’s it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt